When stuck with an untenable position in an argument, when the facts, the law and common sense are all against your cause, reframing is probably your best option. Here are three recent examples from the news.
Senator Ron Johnson, the Always-Trumper from Wisconsin, confronted by the fact that his leader unleashed a heavily armed mob, many in body armor, to riot in the Capitol building (immediately after a rally he promoted, promised would be wild and spent at least $3,500,000 in donations organizing) injuring 140 police officers, and killing several other people (including one of their own they trampled to death), focused on the word “armed.”
“Armed” Johnson claimed, reframing the word, means carrying a firearm. Since only one person was killed by a firearm, and a police firearm at that, it followed that the mob was not armed. Take something you can’t deny– the violent mob seriously hurt a lot of people, using a variety of arms (weapons, if you prefer), and reframe the question into a very limited definition of the word “armed.”
Bear spray (a super powerful form of mace to be used against wild 800 pound apex predator assailants), metal poles, baseball bats, stun guns, sticks, brass knuckles, whips, barricades, fire extinguishers and the other implements used in the riot to inflict injuries — not “arms,” not weapons. Guns only are arms, and only a small number were confiscated by police after the riot, and nobody was shot to death by the rioters (and only a few more automatic rifles, high capacity clips, homemade napalm and a few bombs were found– outside, in trucks owned by rioters– which don’t count) so, by simple logic, there’s your proof — the crowd was not armed. And even if there were a few guns, nobody was shot, except one rioter climbing through a window (by police) so, therefore, the CROWD was not ARMED .
It is an asinine bit of reframing, sure. Though how foolish the reframing is to a given individual in post-Trump America will depend on what their definition of “is” is and the color of their hat.
Texas is in the grips of winter storms and freezing temperatures rarely seen in that part of the country. The demand on electricity to heat homes caused a massive power outage across the state. Millions of Texans are without power, some have already died and many are in real danger of freezing. The power outage appears to be the result of unregulated energy in the state, arranged that way by the great state of Texas to evade those nasty federal regulators. Areas of western Texas that are part of an interstate power grid that is federally regulated, lost power briefly and then had it restored. A hard set of facts for the anti-regulation/government bad crowd to counter.
The Trumpist governor of Texas announced that since wind powered generators failed in the extreme cold, it was proof of how deadly the New Green Deal would be, with its reliance on renewable sources of energy.
Nicely done. Unless you know that wind powered generators account for only 10% of electric power in Texas.
Perhaps the most sickening recent bit of reframing — earlier this month police were called to help a girl who was in emotional crisis. When they arrived the nine year-old was very upset. The Washington Post reported:
The mother of the 9-year-old Rochester, N.Y., girl who was handcuffed and pepper-sprayed by police said Wednesday that she repeatedly told an officer that her daughter was having a mental health breakdown and she pleaded with them to call a specialist instead of trying to detain her.source
The police did what they are trained to do — gave chase, ordered her on to the ground, subdued her, hand-cuffed her, pepper sprayed her (to calm her down), hustled her into a police car. She kept resisting. Here is the exchange between the child and one of the police officers, reframing to beat the band. The child has a better argument here, but that “stop acting like a child!” was a nifty bit of on-the-fly reframing by the police officer:
Others were armed during the riot: A police officer said he noticed a bulge on the hip of Christopher Alberts – who was dressed in body armor and carrying a gas mask – as he filed out of the Capitol grounds, according to court records. When they stopped him, they found a loaded handgun. Alberts’ lawyer did not respond to questions about the case.source